Oakland's Finance Committee Hears "Use Honest Numbers" Message, Delays Action on 5-Year Financial Plan

Members of Oakland's Finance Committee heard loud objections about the City Administrator's proposed 5-Year Financial Plan from Local 21 at a meeting earlier this week. As a result, they delayed taking any action until April 2, when a revised plan will be presented at a Council Budget Workshop.

Our 'Use Honest Numbers and Fix the Five-Year Plan' message was simple and effective. More than 200 Local 21 members signed an on-line petition urging Finance Committee members to send the report back to staff for revisions, and make sure we get honest numbers.

The Plan claims to be a "straightforward projection of the City 's revenues and expenditures over the forecast period," but is not:

  • Projections about revenue are exceedingly conservative.
  • Despite signs of economic recovery and improvement in the housing market, the growth rate assumptions are too low.
  • The starting point for the FY 13-14 revenue projection is too low. Despite improving economic indicators from the City's 4th Quarter Revenue and Expenditure Report, the projection starts at a level below the revenue level of FY 11-12.
  • Policy recommendations (specifically, increased police staffing) are buried in the baseline assumptions rather than being presented separately as possible scenarios for policy consideration. 
  • This document is being used by the City to frame policy discussions and set the tone for bargaining. The City Administration must use honest numbers when bargaining with city workers, who have given up 25% of their compensation over the last 5+ years!

Contract Action Team members drove our 'Use Honest Numbers' petition effort to get the message to Finance Committee members before Tuesday's meeting. Council President Pat Kernighan made a comment about how many emails she received from our members proving that we can make a difference!